When is the best time to visit Antarctica?

MV Ushuaia and Crabeater Seal | Alex Cearns Houndstooth Studio
MV Ushuaia and Crabeater Seal | Alex Cearns Houndstooth Studio

So you've decided to take the great adventure voyage to the south, but which month is the ‘best’ time to visit Antarctica

The answer really depends on what you are looking for! There are three distinct Antarctica cruise seasons, and each has its own special highlights to experience. 

Whether you plan on photographing the stunning wildlife or want to witness new penguin hatchlings, this handy guide will help you decide which cruise is right for you.

November: for adventurers

Kayaking the tranquil waters in Antarctica |  <i>Justin Walker</i>

At the beginning of the season, November is the most adventurous time to visit. Penguins and fur seals are actively courting, coming out of winter to forage for food and participate in spectacular courtship rituals. The spring flowers are in bloom in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, while the snow and ice are at their most pristine levels. The winter ice begins to melt, creating magnificent landscapes of sculpted ice.

Plan your Antarctica cruise for November if you're fascinated by the early Antarctic explorers such as Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and Mawson and looking to experience that sense of discovery. 

December to January: for wildlife photographers

South Georgia's breathtaking scenery and huge numbers of wildlife make it a 'must see' |  <i>Richard I'Anson</i>

As the temperatures rise to the warmest months of the year, so does animal activity. The first penguin chicks are hatched, seal pups are visible and a growing number of whales can be seen in the Antarctic waters. With around 22 hours of sunlight, the conditions are incredible for photo opportunities.

Plan your Antarctica cruise for December or January if you fancy yourself the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year!

February to March: for whale watchers

A Whale Cruise in Antarctica

Late summer is prime whale-watching season, including both humpback and minke whales. Penguins are in various stages of undress, with young chicks fledging as they shed their fluff for new waterproof feathers to catch fish at sea. Young fur seals are at their most playful and are commonly spotted along the Antarctic Peninsula. With more distinction between day and night, the sunsets and sunrises are also spectacular.

Plan your Antarctica cruise for February to March if you hope to see gentle giants playing in their southern habitat.

Ready for a voyage of a lifetime?

Berths on our Antarctica expeditions are filling fast, view our full range of expeditions and use our advanced search finder to tailor your preferences on activities, dates, price and more.

If you travelled to Antarctica what would you most look forward to seeing and doing? Let us know in the comments below.

Antarctica, berths, cruise season, cruises, Cruising, penguins, Photography, seals, whales, Wildlife

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